Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy (I'll Always Be Lonnie's Little Girl)

Today is my Daddy's birthday...he would have been 68 years old.

It's been 8 years since my senior year in college when two of my dearest friends came knocking on my dorm room door to tell me that my phone was off the hook and that my mother was trying to get in touch with me. I knew it was off the hook...I wanted it that way.

At the time, I thought I had decided to turn my ringer off because I had a long day of classes and work. I was unusually tired that day and, although my phone didn't ring off the hook to the point of annoyance, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't going to be disturbed. I have since come to realize (and remember) that I felt bad news that I didn't want to hear or that my father - my Daddy - had died.

Although one is never really "prepared" for the death of a loved one, my dad's death was imminent. He was fighting an ugly battle with AIDS. My dad was a drug addict. More importantly, however, my dad was one of the most loving men that I have known. And...I loved him back.

Don't get me wrong, his personal demons haunted him something fierce and wreaked havoc on my family...especially my mother (more to come on her...she is the awesomest!!!). There was the typical hurt, stress, anger, frustration, abuse and abandonment that comes with the drug addict territory. For fear of sounding like a Lifetime movie, I will spare you all of the details.

Unfortunately, due to my dad's disease (addiction IS a disease), I didn't get to spend anywhere near the amount to time with him that I would have liked to. He left our home when I was in the fourth grade with VERY sporadic contact with me up until my sophomore year in high school. That's when his second (out of five) brother's died. This is also when I first learned of his illness.

It was at this point that we became reaquainted and rekindled our father/daughter relationship. This was truly a blessing as he was able to see me off to the prom, celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with me and my family, as well as attend my high school graduation. He was also able to live long enough to see the first (and only one) of his five children enter college. I was praying that he would live to see me graduate, but God had a different plan for his life. As hard as it was, I made peace with that and am thankful for the time that I did have with him.

As strange has it may sound, struggling through this illness with my dad was one of the most beautiful times of my life. I loved, I learned, I nurtured, I nursed, I accepted, I listened, I talked, I confessed...but more than anything else...I forgave. I forgave my father for not being strong enough to resist drugs. I forgave him for the pain that he caused my family. I forgave him for leaving. I forgave him for not being the father that I needed and wanted him to be. Not that I was ever "mad" at him - having the mother that I have been blessed with made that impossible for me - but I was EXTREMELY hurt and disappointed.

Although he wasn't physically able to say it, my forgiveness meant a great deal to my dad. But it wasn't until he forgave himself that he was truly at peace. He died not too long after.

When I look back on all that I went through with my dad, as well as what I did not, I am still able to say that there is no other man on this Earth that I would rather have has a father. Drugs had taken over the majority of his body...but they NEVER touched his heart.

Yes, my father had a drug addiction, but that was not the whole of him. The drugs were bad...really bad...but my father? He was a good man. He was a loving man. I felt his love...throughout my entire life, I felt his love. He loved me to the best of his ability given his situation...and that is all I could ask for.

I celebrate my Dad's life today. I miss him every minute of every day.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Your Little Girl


At 8:18 AM, Blogger Drama Kween said...

Your post is awesome, well put and heart toughing...thanks for sharing

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Lāā said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad that you could recognize your dad for who he truly was.

At 12:55 AM, Blogger Darbs said...

You are more than welcome Ladies...thank you for the kind words and for taking the time out to "visit" with me.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger TTD said...

awww.. that post hit home for me.. more than anyone would ever know.. thanks for sharing.. i have a phone call to make

At 12:36 AM, Blogger Darbs said...

TTD...were you able to make that phone call? Glad I was able to inspire...


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